Raceland volleyball coach Jason Clark is still on cloud 9, even a week after punching his ticket to state.
And why shouldn’t he be? After years of being just a spectator in Louisville, the Lady Rams’ coach will be participating in his first State Volleyball Tournament.
According to Clark, in his last practice before making the long trek, he wanted to make sure his team knew how important this weekend was.
“I thanked the girls for helping me live out one of my dreams of coaching in a state tournament,” Clark said. “I had to make sure I thanked the girls for that. And also just for the opportunity to coach them. It’s been a magical season.”
Raceland’s 16th Region win last week gave the school its first non-classified region title since 1991, and only its second in school history.
The Lady Rams opening-round game against Logan County (33-7) will be at Valley High School in Louisville starting at 5 p.m.
Before making its trip to Louisville, the school gave the team a send-off in the form of a pep rally that featured students and faculty.
And while his team is going to win, Clark said he wanted his team to enjoy the moment.
“I told them these memories will last them a lifetime,” Clark said. “This is an opportunity no one can take away from them. They were the best team in the 16th Region in 2013 and they will play in the State Tournament with the best 16 teams in the state.”
For a couple of players, this isn’t thier only state championship event this week. Senior MaKenzi Speaks and junior Madison Wilburn will also run in the State Cross Country meet on Saturday.
If Raceland wins its first-round game on Friday, Speaks and Wilburn will have to drive to the Kentucky Horse Park on Saturday morning then back to Louisville for the Lady Rams’ second-round game at 1 p.m.
“They’re used to doing that,” Clark said. “They’re good kids and good athletes and I think it’s obvious by competing for two state championships. They’ll be fine, they’ll just be burning up the roads a little bit this weekend.”
Logan County is the Region 4 champion, and just like the Lady Rams, have only lost one game within its region.
And when watching the Lady Cougars, Clark said he is reminded of district rivals Russell and the similarities between the two teams.
“I don’t think anyone gets there that is not a good team,” Clark said. “They have a couple decent hitters, their setter that quarterbacks their team very well. The mainly hit from the outside. And with the way they play, it’s a lot of the same style of Russell.”
Clark said the way for his team to compete with a good hitting team like Logan County is to be on the offensive right back
“The key for us is to pass the ball well,” Clark said. “We have to get the ball to our hitters. We’ve been really good all year getting the ball to Kymbria (Williams), Abby (Brogan), Savannah (Mackie) and MaKenzi. It’s going to be key for us to run our offense and stay in the system.
“We will compete and it will be an exiting match.”
KYLE HOBSTETTER can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2658.